Alternanthera pungens (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Alternanthera pungens Kunth

Protologue: Humb., Bonpland & Kunth, Nov. gen. sp. 2: 206 (1818).


  • Alternanthera repens (L.) Link (1821) non Gmelin,
  • Telanthera pungens (Kunth) Moq. (1849).

Vernacular names

  • Thailand: khok krasun, khok krasun lek.


Native of tropical America; introduced and naturalized locally in Java, Thailand and India.


In India, it is said to possess diuretic properties, and a decoction is used internally to treat gonorrhoea.


  • A perennial prostrate herb up to 50 cm tall, with robust taproot, often woody at base of stem, much branched, stems solid; hairs minutely dentate.
  • Leaves elliptical-obovate, 1-4.5 cm × 0.5-2 cm, glabrous or slightly appressed pilose, petiole 2-10 mm long.
  • Flowering heads sessile; tepals 3-veined in the lower half, white, filaments united at base into a very short cup.
  • Fruit broadly ovoid, much compressed, about 1.5 mm long.

A. pungens occurs locally in Java and Papua New Guinea, on waste land, dockyards and roadsides in the lowland near the coast. In India it is a weed of pebbly soils and dry locations.

Selected sources

  • Backer, C.A., 1949. Amaranthaceae. In: van Steenis, C.G.G.J. (General editor): Flora Malesiana. Series 1, Vol. 4. Noordhoff Kolff, Djakarta, Indonesia. pp. 69-98.
  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink Jr, R.C., 1963-1968. Flora of Java. 3 volumes. Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. Vol. 1 (1963) 647 pp., Vol. 2 (1965) 641 pp., Vol. 3 (1968) 761 pp.
  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1985. The wealth of India: a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. Revised Edition. Vol. 1. Publications and Information Directorate, New Delhi, India. 513 pp.
  • Kanis, A., 1972. A review of the Amaranthaceae in Papuasia. Contributions from Herbarium Australiense No 1: 1-8.
  • Larsen, K., 1989. Caryophyllales. In: Lescot, M. (Editor): Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Viêtnam [Flora of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam]. Vol. 24. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 144 pp.
  • Townsend, C.C., 1980. Amaranthaceae. In: Dassanayake, M.D. & Fosberg, F.R. (Editors): A revised handbook to the flora of Ceylon. Vol. 1. Amerind Publishing Co., New Delhi, India. pp. 1-57.

Main genus page


  • R.H.M.J. Lemmens & S.F.A.J. Horsten